The Texas Rangers had just taken two-of-three from the Kansas City Royals, a team that they had failed to defeat in ’12 prior to their three game series last week in KC. That should be good news, but there were some uncharacteristic clubhouse issues that overshadowed the Rangers’ first series win in almost two weeks.
Josh Hamilton—More than a nicotine fit?
• As we all know, Rangers’ slugger Josh Hamilton is a very troubled man. Also, the entire world (those that care at least) have been enlightened as to why Hamilton went from totally MVP-legit to “can barely muster a hit” in the span of two months.
The man’s personal life is none of my business and really doesn’t concern me in the slightest. However, his quips to the media and his recent scuffles with the coaching staff have lead me to believe that he is going through something more intense than nicotine withdrawal. And no, I’m not hinting at substance abuse. I don’t think that’s the issue here.
However, something is eating at Hamilton—could be his personal life, movie deal, or whatever—that he normally has been able to deal with no problemo. The further Hamilton slips into the recesses of his own mind, the less likely retainment of his services becomes. In fact, I’m of the belief that Hamilton will not be a Ranger next season, and should things continue as they have, he may be given the C.J. Wilson treatment.
Roy Oswalt—Clubhouse Problem?
• Evidently, Roy Oswalt, who looked fantastic last night over his two innings of relief work, was asked to go out for a third inning, and declined. If this was due to any other reason aside from physical inability, it is absolutely inexcusable.
Naturally, Oswalt was a starter his entire career, and there was a fundamental agreement in place that he’d remain in that role for the Rangers. But still, any major leaguer that can look outside of his own personal dilemmas for a fraction of a second should be able to understand that baseball is a business, and the business of winning entails making moves that are best for the team, not best for Roy Oswalt, etc.
Besides that, if Oswalt is the competitor that I believe him to be, he should take this “demotion” as an opportunity to kick butt and show the world that he’s not a shell of his former All-Star self. He can pitch his way back into the rotation, especially given the way the injury bug has feasted on the Rangers’ rotation this season.
Here’s hoping there was some sort of mixup or miscommunication between Washington and Oswalt that will explain yesterday’s scenario. If not, this is the type of rift that can cause clubhouse issues. If that’s the case, it’s too bad. Oswalt had looked really sharp in his two appearances coming out of the ‘pen.
The Michael Young situation
• Is their any coincidence that the very moment I read that Michael Young is starting at shortstop tonight, there was an ear rattling thunderclap followed by rain? Sure, it wasn’t quite a flood of biblical proportions, but Texas in August is about as likely to see precipitation as Rangers’ fans are to, well, see MY start at shortstop…
Elvis Andrus isn’t starting tonight due to a sore shoulder—that he wouldn’t have encountered had he not blown past his third base coach’s stop sign last night. It’s why Young gets the nod at SS.
Young playing defense at all anywhere, is newsworthy. First and foremost, he’s just plain awful in the field. Secondly, it limits Ron Washington’s ability to play Mike Olt.
Young has not-so-quietly strung together his worst season as a major leaguer in 2012. Anytime he is run out there wearing the leather—and to a certain extent offensively—the Rangers’ chances of winning are diminished.
Mike Olt had a bad game yesterday, striking out with the bases loaded and committing the game-ending error on a bad throw from third to second base. Still, his power potential and normally reliable glove work (at third base at least) make him a more viable option to start over Young.
Michael Young’s career UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) is -55.5 at shortstop. Yes, my coffee just went down the wrong pipe as well.
I suppose this means that the Rangers backup shortstop, Alberto Gonzalez, has played Plinko with Washington’s Tree of Trust while plummeting down to Earth after hitting every single branch.
The Texas Rangers travel to Boston today for a three game series with the Red Sox. Starting tonight for Texas is RHP Yu Darvish (11-7, 4.38 ERA) vs. Boston’s RHP Aaron Cook (2-5, 5.24 ERA).